Court Watch - POSTED: 2008/04/21 19:53
Internet service providers must not release personal information about users in New Jersey without a valid subpoena, even to police, the state's highest court ruled Monday.
New Jersey's Supreme Court found that the state's constitution gives greater protection against unreasonable searches and seizures than the U.S. Constitution.
The court ruled that Internet providers should not disclose private information to anyone without a subpoena.
A Washington lawyer who handles Internet litigation, Megan E. Gray, said the ruling "seems to be consistent with a trend nationwide, but not a strong trend."
"It's contrary to what is happening with rights of privacy at the federal level," Gray said. "But it's all over the board for the states, with a mild trend toward protecting this information."
Grayson Barber, a lawyer representing the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, among other groups that filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case, said it was the first ruling in the nation to recognize a reasonable expectation of privacy for Internet users.